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Most scams, such as sub-prime mortgages and email scams, victimize adults. But custody scams victimize children. When government fails to protect children it throws open the doors to private contractors—lawyers and clinicians—who enrich themselves at the expense of children. (More about this child and the mother who tried to protect her appears below.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Peoria murder-suicide victim sought help from court

Peoria murder-suicide victim sought help from court
Peoria woman later killed in apparent murder-suicide
by Dustin Gardiner - Oct. 20, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

A Peoria mother whose body was found Friday had recently tried to leave Arizona after receiving threats from her apparent slayer, but a judge denied her request, court records show.

Two weeks before she was killed, Dawn Axsom pleaded with Judge Jose Padilla of Maricopa County Superior Court to let her leave Arizona with her son because she feared Gabriel Schwartz, the toddler's father, would harm her or their boy.

Padilla denied the 26-year-old's request and ordered the pair to attend parental counseling together.

Axsom's body was found in her Peoria residence Friday. Police also found the bodies of Schwartz, 28, and Linda Braden, 56, Axsom's mother.

Schwartz is suspected of shooting and killing both women before turning the gun on himself, Peoria police spokesman Mike Tellef said Monday.

Tellef said the violence likely began in the downstairs kitchen, where Schwartz shot Braden. Then, Schwartz went upstairs, shooting Axsom in the master bathroom and killing himself in a bedroom.

Police discovered the grisly scene at about 10 a.m. Friday after Axsom didn't show up for work and a friend and the friend's mother went to the home, located in the 7400 block of West Sierra Street, to check on her.

When the friend knocked on the door, she heard Axsom and Schwartz's nearly 2-year-old boy crying upstairs.

The woman called police, who arrived and found the child unharmed inside his crib.

"When the officer took the baby outside, he covered (the child's) eyes so he couldn't see anything," Tellef said, recounting the scene.

Friends and co-workers who gathered outside Axsom's residence Friday said she was having ongoing custody problems with Schwartz and expressed frustration that the court system wouldn't let her leave Arizona when she knew Schwartz might harm her.

Court records show Padilla granted Axsom a protective order against Schwartz four days before the Oct. 6 hearing where he ordered her to attend parental counseling with him and denied her request to relocate to Maryland with the pair's son.

Axsom's son was placed into the custody of state Child Protective Services.


* * *

3 found dead in Peoria home
by Nathan Gonzalez - Oct. 18, 2009 05:38 PM
The Arizona Republic

Peoria police believe three people found dead inside a home Friday morning may be a case of murder-suicide, but are awaiting autopsy results, a spokesman said Sunday afternoon.

Detectives hope the autopsies on Lisa Braden, 56, her daughter Dawn Axsom, 26, and Gabriel Schwartz, 28, will provide answers on how the three died, said Mike Tellef, a police spokesman.

"There are too many unknowns as of yet," Tellef said, noting that the incident looks like a possible murder-suicide. However, he fell short of naming it as such.

Police believe there are no outstanding suspects.

About 10 a.m. Friday, a woman and her mother went to the home on the 7400 block of W. Sierra Street, after one of the victims failed to show for work, police said previously.

When one woman rang the doorbell, she heard Axsom and Schwartz's 2-year-old child crying inside. The woman called police, who arrived and found the child unharmed inside the home.

Police have thus far declined to say how Braden, Axsom and Schwartz died, only that violence was involved and their bodies were found in different areas of the home.

The 2-year-old boy was placed into the custody of Child Protective Services.

About the mother and child pictured at the top

On February 21, 1992, Rhode Island Family Court's Chief Judge Jeremiah Jeremiah gave this two-year-old to the sole custody and possession of her father despite his history of domestic violence and failure to pay child support. The father, a police officer, brought false charges against his ex-wife, first saying she was a drug addict. (Twenty-two random tests proved she was not.) Then he had her arrested for bank fraud, then for filing a false report, then for sexual abuse, then for kidnapping. None of his charges stuck.

The child remained with her father and stepmother until 2003, when, at 14, she finally realized that her mother had not been a drug addict. The teenager persuaded Judge Stephen Capineri to let her return to her mother. There she began working on the painful issues of lifelong coercion and deception--a tangled knot of guilt and rage. Most painful has been her father’s continuing refusal to let her visit two dearly loved half-sisters, whom she has not seen since 2003.

She is one of countless children in Rhode Island subjected to severe emotional and physical trauma by Family Court when it helps abusive parents to maintain control over their families after divorce. When she turned 18 in 2007, she gave the Parenting Project permission to publish her picture on behalf of all children who have been held hostage by Rhode Island custody scams.

We are using this blog to provide links to stories that will help concerned people, including government officials, become aware of this form of child abuse and legal abuse. We must work together to improve the courts' ability to recognize the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in victims of domestic abuse who are trying to protect their children.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are looking for the story of the removal of "Molly and Sara," please visit http://LittleHostages.blogspot.com


About the Author and the Cause

Parenting Project is a volunteer community service begun in 1996 at Mathewson Street United Methodist Church, Providence, RI, to focus on the needs of children at risk in Family Court custody cases. Our goal is to make Rhode Island's child protective system more effective, transparent, and accountable.

The Parenting Project coordinator, Anne Grant, a retired minister and former executive director of Rhode Island's largest shelter for battered women and their children, researches and writes about official actions that endanger children and the parents who try to protect them. She wrote a chapter on Rhode Island in Domestic Violence, Abuse, and Child Custody: Legal Strategies and Policy Issues, ed. Mo Therese Hannah, PhD, and Barry Goldstein, JD (Civic Research Institute, 2010).

Comments and corrections on anything written here may be sent in an email with no attachments to parentingproject@verizon.net

Find out more about the crisis in custody courts here:

www.centerforjudicialexcellence.org/PhotoExhibit.htm
www.child-justice.org
www.leadershipcouncil.org
www.evawintl.org provides forensic resources to end violence against women

about domestic violence in hague custody cases:
www.haguedv.org

more about domestic violence in law enforcement:
http://behindthebluewall.blogspot.com/



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